Hoping to share the love, joy, and grace I have received in my own life.

A Tale of Two Journeys

on March 11, 2016

I believe that our lives are a journey.  We are able to change paths along the way, according to preference, or sometimes we are thrown onto another path, not by our own choosing.  I’ve learned a few things about this journey we call “life” in the past 4 years, especially of my own life.  My journey from light to darkness occurred very quickly.  In just a few hours time, I went from what I believed to be a happy, normal life to one of complete darkness and despair.  When my son, Trevor, died (4 years, 3 months, and 2 days ago) pain and sorrow entered my life like a torrential storm.  I was tossed into this ocean of gargantuan waves, that although I was trying so hard to swim in, continued pulling me under.  This week, I realize how quickly that darkness came.  I was taken down hard and fast by the waves of this new life that I had no choice in.  After more than four years that darkness and those waves are not diminished, but I know how to tread water.   Although I never considered that my grief might end and knew that I would miss my son until the day that I am able to see him again, I am not sure I considered how grueling the grief would continue to be off and on for the rest of my life.  Pain and sorrow enter our lives so quickly.  I have read so much in the past four years and many stories are of people in situations such as mine that never return to a life of joy following tragedy.  That isn’t my story.

I am beginning to look at my life as two journeys.  I was on the normal journey, living day-to-day, going to work, going to church, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying life.  No, my life wasn’t perfect, but it was good.  In one afternoon, just a few short hours, that journey came to an abrupt end.  When I was tossed into that storm, although I didn’t know it then, my life began a new journey.  That new journey is really my story.  All of the things that occurred in my life before December 9, 2011 feel like they could fit in a tiny little box.  I was 41 years-old then.  I had been through a lot in my life.  What I have realized this week, though, is that those 41 years are miniscule in comparison to the last four years.  I think I know why.  The journey from light to darkness happened so quickly, but the journey from darkness to light is much more slow to come.  My first 41 years were happy, for the most part.  Don’t get me wrong. I have been through a lot in my life, like everyone else, but all of those four decades can’t compare to the past 4 years.  I’m not minimizing the wonderful things that happened in my life (my marriage, the births of all three of my children, celebrations, etc.)  I am just saying that looking back on those 41 years seem like a flash in the pan compared to the long agonizing last four.  I know why…my journey is new.  I have mentioned before that I frequently look at my life as “before Trevor died” and “after Trevor died.”  I see it now as two separate journeys. 

I have learned so much. Somewhere in the pages and pages of my writing I have a list of lessons learned not only following Trevor’s death, but also as a result of his death.  The greatest difference, aside from the incredible ache to hug Trevor, to reach out and touch him, to laugh with him, sing with him, play with him, and love him…the greatest difference in the first journey of my life and this new one is my relationship with God.  Are you familiar with the story of the woman at the well?  In John 4, Jesus is traveling to Galilee and goes through Samaria.  Tired from the journey, Jesus sat down next to Jacob’s well.  A Samaritan women came to the well for water and Jesus asked her for a drink.  The woman questioned how Jesus could ask her for water.  (She was a Samaritan and Jews did not associate with Samaritans.)  Jesus said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”  The woman knew that Jesus didn’t have anything with him to draw water from the well and wanted to know what this “living water” was that Jesus spoke of.  Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.  Indeed the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  Trevor’s death is my well.  Jesus met me there.  He held me up through the first excruciating days following Trevor’s death and has never left my side.  I was so thirsty and never knew it.  In a matter of days (and with the help of Adam Hamilton’s book, “Why?”) my thirst began being quenched.  The pain that seemed completely unbearable began to subside at times through prayer, meditation, and Bible study.  The deeper I dug into the Word, the less thirsty I was. 

I am not saying that my relationship with Jesus makes all of the pain go away, but about 90% of the time now…I can tolerate the pain.  I still have moments where I need to sob uncontrollably, lay in my bed with covers over my head and question “why?”, but I know that Jesus is with me.  The Holy Spirit comforts me.  God is there for me.  So…I get up, say a prayer of thanks and move on with my day.  Yes, my life is on it’s second journey, but I know who is with me and because of that, I can face tomorrow.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  ~Philippians 4:6-7


One response to “A Tale of Two Journeys

  1. Larry Mein says:

    Amen, amen, amen

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